Chicago Sun-Times

New punter Johnson eager for chance

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Dirk Johnson said he has been around long enough to know when a cut is coming in preseason. He never got that vibe during August with the Philadelphia Eagles. That move is in the past now, though, as he prepares to make his debut today in place of Brad Maynard as the Bears punter. Maynard is expected to miss his first game in 11 seasons, as first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

"I was definitely surprised because I had had a good camp and everything had gone really well,'' Johnson said. "[The Eagles] really didn't give me an explanation, and I don't know if they can really explain it. I've been in the league long enough to know when it's coming. You can tell how the preseason is going what is coming down the chute. It's not like I was not performing well."

Philly decided to go with 33-year-old rookie Sav Rocca, a decorated Australian Rules Football star. Rocca ranked 18th in the preseason with a 45.4-yard gross average and a 38.9-yard net. Johnson ranked 34th, with a 43.9-yard gross and a 34.8-yard net. The Eagles had signed Johnson to a six-year extension just a year earlier.

Johnson is not expected to be around long with Maynard missing with a pulled groin.

"They'd rather have [Maynard] at full strength for the rest of the year than half-ass it this week," said Rcih De Luca, Maynard's agent. "He should be ready to roll next week."

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Brad, you have got to get an imflammatory blog heading if you want anyone to know you're here. Ask something like: with a bad back is Urlacher getting old? Will Vasher miss his bling regarding his fine or what does a no-name scrub has to say about making the BEARS,like Adams did? Roman doesn't necessarily do that but if Jay had a blog he would do that and have 200 entries in about an hour. Roman is chugging along and picking up steam and a lot of his topics take off on their own.

The game against the Chiefs is a game the Bears should win and win big. In fact, the game should be over by the third quarter and allow the Bears to play their backups the whole 4th quarter, including Brian Griese. And, the only thing interesting for Bears fans to watch, besides the Bears dominating, is the for the play of Ex-Bears Casey Wiegmann, WR Eddie Kennsion, and DT Alfonso Boone; all players starting for KC.

My Keys for the Game are:

Offensive:

1. Ron Turner needs to open up his play-calling and not just go vertical in the passing game. Turner needs to utilize misdirection, outside and inside runs, reverses, motion, and formation shifts in the running game.

2. Give Olin Kreutz help on the man over him and combo/chip block to the second level (LBs) to get Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson a chance to break long runs. In the SD game, the line mainly had 'stale-mates' on or near the line of scrimmage (LOS). And, SD spent a lot of time in the backfield on running plays and didn't give the back a chance for cutbacks or to get into the next level too often.

3. Take what the defense gives you. If the starting position is from the 20 yd. line and in, the Bears need to nickel and dime their way down the field.

4. 2 or less turnovers and stay away from 3rd and long situations. If the Bears are in certain passing situations, go with the 'shotgun'; which will give Rex Grossman more field vision and a better 'mental' clock.

5. Keep it simple and work on sustaining long drives; which will wear down a young and weak depth Chiefs defense.


Defense:

1. Put pressure on QB Damon Huard and force him into bad throws. (I predict 3 Bears INTs, 1 for a TD)

2. Pound Larry Johnson and gang tackle him. Limit him to under 50 yards rushing and 20 yards receiving with no TDs.

3. Cover Tony Gonzalez like a blanket with good under and over coverage by Hunter Hillenmeyer and Adam Archuleta.

4. Bring more pressure off the end with LBs. PREDICTION: Brian Urlacher will snap his sackless streak and get 2 sacks.

5. Rotate players to keep everyone fresh as the Bears have good depth and this will be key today and all year long.

Special Teams:

1. Continue to bring pressure up the middle on punts and not allow KC P Dustin Colquitt to hand the ball up for fair catches. PREDICTION: Bears will force a block or deflected punt; which will force an easy score for the Bears offense.

2. Give different looks on the KO return team. Though, I think they may get only 3 chances for returns because of the Chiefs inability to score. Save any reverses on KOs for a future game. But, set it up.

3. New P Dirk Johnson needs to not over-kick his coverage, put the ball up high, and keep the ball inside the 20 yd. line. Johnson needs to average 38 yards net on punts. Look for Johnson to punt only 4 times on Sunday.

4. Force a turnover.

5. Make the Chiefs start at their own 18 yd. line on punts and 24 yd. line on KOs.


This is one of those games where the Bears should dominate every facet of the game. A game where: Grossman throws for 3 TDs, 1 INT, and over 250 yards,
Benson rushes for over 100 yds, on 22 carries, 7 different receivers catch a pass, and the defense reminds people of the '85 Bears with its domination.

My plea to Ron Turner is to: PLEASE OPEN IT UP!!!

Final Score: Bears 41 KC 10

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 16, 2007 5:56 AM.

Maynard out; Bears sign punter Johnson was the previous entry in this blog.

New punter Johnson warming up is the next entry in this blog.

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